Dear Family and Friends,
It's always an interesting experience to come into a new area and try to take all the surroundings, landmarks, and faces in at once. This is my fifth time doing it, and it is still really stressful for me. My companion (Elder Leon) is great and knows the area really well. We have a pretty large teaching pool here so its really nice to always have a full schedule. We're pretty close to the ocean here, but not close enough to get the ocean breeze. Instead, we just get the heat and humidity from the ocean. The deeper that you go into the Batangas region, the Tagalog gets more wacky and deep. We're pretty far in now and they speak really different here. Sometimes when we walk past people having a conversation, I have to listen really well to see if they're still speaking Tagalog. They say that Batangas is where Tagalog came from, so that must mean that I'm in the best place to learn it!
It was really hard for me to leave Tanauan, and I'm still really missing the friends that I made there, but the members here in Bauan are awesome and have a great desire to get out and share the Gospel. My companion is new in the mission and is still working on the language, but he is trying really hard and really putting his all into every aspect of the work.
Right now, the focus of the mission is on developing faith to find. The whole mission has started an "experiment on faith." The whole mission has committed to get 10 OYM's every day for the month of August. It has been a little bit of a challenge for us and our faith has definitely been tested when it's close to and we still need to talk to 6 more people. But we're already seeing the fruits of our labors as we're continually finding more people to teach and the number 10 seems a little smaller every day.
A little more information on my companion. He is 18 years old and from Sydney, Australia. He is 6'5" and a huge rugby fan. I don't have any pictures right now, but I will for sure next week. Let's just say that this is the first area where people have started saying that I'm small. Just because I look really short when I'm walking next to him, when I'm actually taller than most people here. The work here is progressing well and I'm just trying to memorize faces and landmarks right now since our area actually includes three other towns other than Bauan City.
Everything is going well and I'm just adjusting to the heat and Tagalog here in Batangas! Thanks again for all of your support and advice!
- Elder English